Crossed by Ally Condie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
My take: I was going to give this book a 3/5 star rating but, after reading a wonderful review, I found I agreed completely with the reviewer and kicked it up a star.
What I didn't like was the slow pace. At the end of "Matched," Ky had been sent to the Outer Provinces and Cassia chose to be banished in order to find him. This book begins from basically that time period. Ky is living in a horrendous area and being used as targets for The Enemy. Whoever the enemy may be. They are being obliterated every time there is a firing. Ky has a wary alliance with Vick, another decoy who has survival instincts. When the opportunity presents itself, Ky, Vick and a boy named Eli make a run for the Carvings (the illustrations look like Bryce Canyon).
Cassia has no alliances as she is being rotated through farming communities, looking for the opportunity to get closer to The Carvings. When she escapes the village, she forms an alliance with a girl named Indie.
The chapters are told in alternating Points of View by Cassia and Ky. This confused me, even though the chapters are clearly identified as such. There is a lot of wandering around, finding caves and dead ends. This frustrated me until I realized that the point was not the destination but the journey.
In the first book, Cassia lived a nice life where everything was provided for her but also monitored. Yet she developed independence regardless. In this book, Cassia's independence deepens as she is truly out on her own. She might still be able to return to her regular life at any time but her objective is to find Ky. She is completely goal oriented at nearly any cost. This gives her character much more depth.
Also in the first book, Ky is still rather a mystery. This time we get into Ky's head. His one goal is to find Cassia. He doesn't know she is no longer in her safe hamlet. There is internal dialogue but not unnecessary angst, agony and wo. He thinks about Cassia. He wants to share his experiences with her. He loves her but in the meantime, stuff is happening. Neither Ky nor Cassia are perfect nor are they perfect soul mates.
Another item of interest is Xander, Cassia's match. He's still a good guy. But some interesting facts come to light. He has secrets that Ky knows and is afraid once Cassia knows them, she will chose Xander. Ky feels intimidated by Xander. Yet Cassia chose to follow Ky. This choice will be interesting in Book 3, I think.
Like I said, it's a slower dystopia but I think this book is setting the stage for some interesting action on Book 3.